Jusuf Nurkic sets Suns’ single-game record for rebounds in loss to Thunder

Mar 3, 2024, 10:06 PM | Updated: 10:22 pm

Jusuf Nurkic...

Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against Jusuf Nurkic #20 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 03, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic pulled down the franchise record for rebounds in a single game with his 28th of the night Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He finished the game with 31 rebounds in the 118-110 loss.

Tyson Chandler in 2016 and the late Paul Silas in 1971 were tied atop the franchise leaderboard with 27 entering Sunday. No NBA player this season had grabbed more than 26 rebounds in a game before Nurkic.

Phoenix trailed by as much as 24 points in the third quarter before ending the quarter on a 25-5 run and taking the lead early in the fourth. Nurkic added 14 points and four assists to his massive rebounding total while Bradley Beal paced the team with 31 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

Nurkic snatched every single Suns rebound in the opening quarter with 12, the second time he’d grabbed a dozen boards in a period this year. He nearly outrebounded the Thunder (13) and is the only player in the league with 12 rebounds in a period this year.

The big man was a question mark coming into Sunday after exiting Saturday’s loss to the Houston Rockets with a neck spasm. He was probable to suit up and gave the Suns a size advantage over the Thunder and 208-pound 7-foot rookie center Chet Holmgren.

Nurkic finished the half with 16 rebounds, one shy of Chandler’s mark for most boards in a half by a Suns player since 1996-97. No other Phoenix player grabbed even two rebounds in the first half.

The first-year Sun also blocked Thunder wing Josh Giddey in transition and finished the half with six points on 3-for-9 shooting.

His rebounding rate didn’t slow much with nine in the third quarter to get up to 25, already setting a career high.

Nurkic’s previous mark was 23 with the Portland Trail Blazers on New Year’s Day in 2019. His Suns high was 22, which he’s done twice this year.

Nurkic grabbed 18 defensive boards and 13 on the offensive glass, a feat that has not been accomplished since Charles Oakley in 1988, according to StatMuse.

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